Business Coaching vs. Consultants

One of the common questions we come across in our meetings with business owners is that of ‘what is the difference between and Business Coach and a Business Consultant?’ Quite often the perception is that they are one of the same, but in reality there are many differences. To put it simply, think of a business coach as a personal trainer for your business. They help you meet a goal, work to motivate and drive you, and keep you on track, focussed and recognise achievements. A business coach will help you achieve your goals for your business.

A consultant on the other hand, is another resource available for business owners which are of value as well. A consultant will generally be an expert in a specific area or field who will provide a solution for the issue based on their knowledge or areas of specialisation. The client is generally engaged in the initial briefing and again at the end report presentation then has a choice to implement or not when they get their final report. The level of engagement is limited.

This doesn’t mean that there is one best option as per a coach or a consultant. Even though as a Business Coach myself, I should be saying we are the best option, it isn’t true. The key to the decision is really what does your business and you need. Do you want someone to come in and give you all the answers and a plan and leave you to it, or do you want the ongoing supportive process where you do the work and someone else drives you and holds you accountable? At various stages in a business cycle the need for each may arise…the main point is doing what is best for you.

Below lists some key points of difference between coaching and consulting.


  • Cost based on the program (ie 12 months)
  • Focus on your accountability
  • Ask questions to you
  • Like A Teacher
  • Generalist knowledge
  •  You do the work
  • Lifelong learning skills for you
  • Plan based on your needs
  • Utilises’s your team’s skills
  • You do the homework and are constantly involved
  • Applies proven and effective strategies for any category or industry


  • Cost generally by the hour
  • Focus on a deliverable
  • Tells you what or they will do it
  • Doer
  • Specialist in specific area
  • Consultant does the work
  • When consultant leaves, so does the experience.
  •  Plan is driven by the deliverable definition
  • Uses other consultants
  • You are involved initially in planning and final acceptance, but otherwise little involvement
  • Applies strategies based on industry expertise for every category and industry

As can be seen, the differences are considerable, but the roles and outcomes of each are also to meet different business needs. Whatever your need, the choice between the two options needs to be based more on the desired business gap you need help with. Good Luck!

Tony Ozanne
Small Fish Business Coaching Canberra

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